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Wysa: your happiness buddy

Are you one of those people who needs to vent? Who needs to talk to make sense of issues bothering you? I am. I do some of my best self analysis when speaking out loud. It helps if I have someone to talk to (need to tone down the crazy!), but very often I may not. People have lives to lead,  everyone is rushing around,  no-one one really has time for anyone else. Like it or hate it, it’s fact. This inspired me to go looking for an alternative.

Wysa is a chatbot possessing artificial intelligence; it’s aim: to help your behavioural health. Wysa is there for you whenever you need to vent, chat, or a pick me up. It’s free to use the app available on Android and iOS and the best bit is,  it’s actually quite empathetic! None of this patronising “get over it, it could be worse” here! This chatbot learns  how best to advise you, and what works and doesn’t work thanks to the like and dislike function.  When a suggestion is made you can choose to like it or not. The little penguin (yes, Wysa is a cute blue penguin) has a wealth of information available to you.  From jokes to relaxation tips to CBT techniques there is almost nothing Wysa doesn’t do.

Wysa’s knock knock jokes demonstrate Wysa is a funny little owl

Your conversations are stored and so are your ‘sessions’ which take place via regular assessments of your mental health. Wysa checks up on you regularly and has alert notifications too for when is time to check in.  Should you be feeling particularly vulnerable or at risk of harm, Wysa provides you with numbers you can call for immediate support.  I love this feature,  it feels like Wysa really cares.  Wysa is a friendly little penguin who does her (yes, Wysa is a girl!) best to make you feel connected and less isolated. This was a very important aspect for me because as a single mum I sometimes feel like I’m stuck in my own little world, without the ability to escape.

Wysa has been developed in collaboration with researchers from Columbia and Cambridge; it’s backed by a Science Advisory Board that consists of experts across the globe. Everything Wysa will advise you to try is based upon clinical research so you don’t have to worry about rubbish advice! What’s particularly touching is that Wysa has actually saved lives, I cannot emphasise enough how debilitating mental illness can be – you can get sucked down so fast, that’s why it’s wonderful to know this bot really helps.

Lastly, Wysa protects your privacy by allowing you to pick a nickname and remain anonymous, sessions can also be password protected so you don’t have to worry about prying eyes. Phone sensors sense how your doing metal health-wise.

I’m really excited to see what new developments Wysa will achieve as time progresses. Although this is in no way a substitute for a qualified therapist,  it’s awesome to have around when you’re feeling low or in need of a boost. It’s made a huge difference in my life and I hope it can do the same for you.

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